It’s been a few days since Ramadhan started in Brunei Darussalam. Have you adapted to it? Fasting from sunrise to sunset every day for the rest of the month is a huge change to our lifestyle, so here are some tips for a safe and healthy Ramadhan.
DON’T SKIP SAHUR
Sahur is the meal eaten before the beginning of the fast every day, and it should be taken before the Subuh prayer. Having sahur isn’t mandatory but it’s highly recommended so we can fuel our body during the day when we’re fasting.
That said, waking up for sahur can be a challenge for some people. It isn’t uncommon to oversleep and miss out on sahur. If you’re a serial snoozer, try placing your phone across the room. If that doesn’t work, try a phone app that makes you solve Math problems to turn off the alarm instead of just pressing the snooze button. Or ask your family member to wake you up.
EAT BALANCED MEALS
A balanced meal should include a mix of fiber, vegetables and protein. Eating dates is a traditional and healthy way to start off your sungkai, and they’re a good source of fiber. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends wholegrains and grilled or baked lean meat for a good portion of healthy protein. Likewise, the sahur should include vegetables, carbohydrates and protein-rich food such as eggs and dairy products.
AVOID EXCESSIVE SUGAR, FAT AND SALT
After an entire day of fasting, it can be very tempting to indulge in food containing high amounts of sugar, fat or salt. As with all other things, moderation is key. If you find yourself eating too much sugar, fat or salt, try some of these healthier alternatives.
Fruits as sweet treats are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fried food is typically high in fat, so try baking, steaming or stir-frying which requires less oil.
Avoid food with large amounts of salt such as snacks and crackers. Keep an eye on nutritional labels and the serving size to limit your salt intake. WHO recommends consuming less than 5g of salt per day, which is just a little less than a teaspoon.
DON’T TAKE MORE THAN YOU CAN EAT
It’s a common scenario in Ramadhan: we stock up piles of food on our plate and we dig in happily, only to find out 15 minutes later that we can’t eat anymore but there’s still a lot of food on the plate. This is especially common at sungkai buffet when we’re spoiled with so many options to try out.
If you’re having a buffet at a restaurant you’ve never been to, start off with a small portion of various food choices. Chances are, only some of them would make you want to go for seconds. Keep your portion size reasonable, eat slowly and avoid wasting food.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
The fasting hours vary depending on the country, but in Brunei Darussalam, it’s around 13.5 hours from sunrise to sunset. That’s more than half a day of not drinking any water, so it’s important to drink plenty of water between sungkai and sahur.
WHO recommends at least 10 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated during Ramadhan. You can also eat water-rich fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon.
AVOID PRE-SUNGKAI RUSH HOUR
If you’re running an errand in the afternoon, plan your schedule to avoid rush hour before sungkai. Check traffic on Google Maps or Waze so you know which routes to avoid.
Bring a bottle of water and some dates as a backup in case you can’t make it home on time.
If you’re dining at a restaurant for sungkai, it’s best to arrive early so you can find yourself a parking spot. Most of all, drive safely and be mindful of others on the road.